From Buenos Aires you can make an easy day trip to Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay with a fast ferry boat. Colonia del Sacramento is a beautiful town, with cobblestone streets, whitewashed and colorful houses, lots of old cars and bougainvilleas in full bloom in December. The town is just a 75 minute ferry town away from Buenos Aires and a day trip seemed like the perfect opportunity for another passport stamp! In case you like to break away from the hustle and bustle of Buenos Aires; Colonia del Sacramento is the perfect place to visit.
How to get there
You can take the bus to Colonia del Sacramento from Buenos Aires, but this will take you over 6 hours, while by ferry the town is only 75 minutes away. There are several ferry companies that have ferries to Colonia del Sacramento, they have different ferry terminals.. make sure you go to the right one. We found the time schedules of Colonia Express the most comfortable ones, so we decided to book with them. We paid € 125 for two return tickets, which I found quite expensive despite of the favorable exchange rate. You have to be at the harbor for check-in and immigration purposes about one-hour early. When we arrived to the harbor there was an enormous queue at check-in, but luckily everything went by quickly. We were surprised by the number of people that seemed to want to visit Colonia del Sacramento, but most people seemed to travel onwards to Montevideo. We had a small delay on our first trip and a delay of over an hour on our way back to Buenos Aires. I don’t know if that is normal, but you might want to be prepared for that. There is a duty-free-kind-of-shop on the boat, but we brought our own drinks.
What to do in Colonia del Sacramento
When we got off the boat most people took a bus onwards to Montevideo. I had read that Colonia del Sacramento was a sleepy town and that definitely wasn’t an exaggeration. The whole day it was super quiet in town, with only a few terraces being filled with tourists. I liked the relaxedness of the town, as it was really easy to take pictures on the beautiful streets. There are only a few restaurants in the city center, it definitely wasn’t too touristy. There also aren’t a lot of sights you can actually visit, but the town is perfect for just wandering around. It is important to visit on a day with good weather because there isn’t a whole lot you can do when it is raining. What I like about these small towns, is that it is impossible to miss the highlights, by just roaming around you will run into them really easily, without doing any research. We arrived in Colonia del Sacramento around lunch time, so we immediately stopped at a terrace to have lunch. Uruguay is more expensive than Argentina, I would say the prices are almost the same as in the Netherlands. Which means: € 8 for a simple sandwich and € 5 for a glass of wine. Nothing too bad if you don’t stay too long… Colonia del Sacramento has a few (affordable) resort style clothing stores, which are definitely worth browsing. I was super surprised by how many well dressed people we saw on the streets! It was a nice change from the backpacker-hiker style we noted everywhere in Patagonia. The one thing I was really disappointed by was the color of the water. Colonia is located at a bay and the water was super brown, this doesn’t have to mean that the water is dirty, but it definitely does not help with taking good pictures. As Uruguay is a somewhat fancy country, I expected the water to look more enviable. We found a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento sufficient time to explore this cute, little town. We had about four hours to spend, which we found more than enough time for a little bit of relaxing. I wouldn’t say there is a need for staying the night in Colonia, but it definitely had some good-looking boutique hotels, perfect for a romantic night. If you are into colonial towns like I am, I would definitely recommend visiting this town. But if you are not into colonial towns, there isn’t a lot you can do here, so I would advice to skip this location.
I will round off this blogpost with my pictures of some street scenes of Colonia del Sacramento, to help you decide if it is worth it to visit this town!